Chapter 8 of Get Serious details my top ten nutritional supplements, one of which is resveratrol. Present in red wine, it is thought to confer protection against coronary events in people consuming a high-fat diet (French Paradox) and has recently been shown to have potential neuroprotective effects as well. Go figure! It is well known that the diseases which kill the majority of people worldwide have common underpinnings: inflammation, oxidative stress and free radical tissue damage. Acute stroke-induced neuronal damage is no different. “Cerebral ischemia produces neuronal injury in both an immediate and delayed fashion through the generation of inflammatory mediators, dangerous levels of oxidative free radicals, and additional injury cascades, all of which culminate in cell death.”
In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that a combination of α-lipoic and resveratrol attenuated infarct (stroke) volume and resultant neuronal death in an animal model. Αlpha-lipoic acid, a supplement recommended for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, was found to act synergistically with resveratrol as a free-radical scavenger. Secondarily, its addition allowed for a reduction in the resveratrol dosage, mitigating potential hepatic and renal toxicity. For those concerned readers, resveratrol-associated toxicities at recommended dosages in humans have not been reported. I take 250mg daily without concern.
My point? Again I refer you to the pages of Get Serious. I have always chosen my personal supplements based upon the existing animal and human data, the latter of which are regrettably scant. Why are the human data scant? Because there is little financial backing for supplement-focused trials. But the lack of such human data does not equate to inefficacy. Resveratrol has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in animal stroke models. It is a distinct possibility that similar benefits will be observed in humans as well. So don’t wait, add resveratrol to your arsenal of supplements. Your brain may thank you for it one day…
Saleh MC, et al. Co-administration of resveratrol and lipoic acid, or their synthetic combination, enhances neuroprotection in a rat model of ischemia/reperfusion. PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e87865.
Weiner GM, Ducruet AF. Resveratrol and pharmacological potentiation in ischemic stroke. Neurosurgery. 2014;74(6):N17-18.